Escaping COVID-19 on the trails: How this Corner Brook ski club is regaining a sense of normalcy

The manager of a cross-country ski club in Corner Brook says membership is on the rise this winter as people are drawn to the freedom the sport offers amid COVID-19 restrictions.

Shawn Leamon, manager of the Blow Me Down club, says people are drawn to the spacious 42 kilometers of groomed trails that provide outdoor exercise with great physical distance.

“Everyone is troubled by everything that is going on in the world with COVID-19. All you hear is what you can’t do. The Beauty of Blow Me Down [is] we’re here to tell you what you can do, ”Leamon said.

Dozens of skiers hit the slopes during their lunch break on Wednesday.

Sanctuary

Wayne Eastman says he enjoys exercise and tries to ski 10 kilometers a day.

“It’s like a sanctuary here. And the people who work here are like family. For example, I forgot my boots today. My first day out, I walked in, they took me in. Gave some boots. It’s just a nice break from all of the COVID-19 related things happening all around us, “Eastman said.

Wayne Eastman, an avid Nordic skier who says he skis 10 kilometers a day, says the slopes are a nice break from pandemic developments. (Colleen Connors / CBC)

The club has grown from around 600 members to 900 this winter. The province’s Alert Level 4 means there are some limitations inside the lodge, but Leamon says there is only freedom on maintained trails.

“Just with the equipment, the sky and the polls, you already have roughly already six feet of social distancing already accomplished just by putting on your gear,” he said.

He says skiers are sliding down his slopes, looking for a break from everything COVID-19 – from press briefings and mandatory masks, to the new, fast-spreading variant.

Anyone who wants to learn to ski is welcome, Leamon said, and night skiing should start all over again when the snow is falling.

Marble Mountain Update

He says some new cross-country ski club members are avid downhill skiers waiting for the Marble Mountain ski resort to open.

Dozens of people raced down the slopes at Blow Me Down Cross Country Ski Club during their lunch break on Wednesday, distancing themselves from each other on the 42 kilometers of trails. (Colleen Connors / CBC)

Mild temperatures and forecast rain prevented the popular west coast attraction from opening as scheduled on Wednesday, with management saying weather is a big factor.

“The slopes and the ski lift service will open as soon as the snow conditions allow,” management said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Staff will inform the public on a weekly basis of a possible opening date. The capacity inside the lodge, the kitchen area and the rental shop will be reduced when the ski resort opens.

“We’re hoping people can get to Marble soon and start skiing, because we’re all in the snow sports business, and it’s great to see that the West Coast has so many things to do,” Leamon said. .

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